Men’s refuge prepares to open

A homeless shelter for men should be operational soon in Minot with the approval of a permit and waiver by the Minot City Council Monday.

Vince Grilley, spokesman for Men’s Winter Refuge, said volunteers have been waiting for clearance of this final hurdle, and organizers expect the project will come together quickly now. It is possible that the shelter could be operating in a week.

A consortium of Minot churches plans to a establish a temporary shelter through May 31 in a house belonging to First Lutheran Church. They sought an interim use permit to increase the allowed residency from six people to 12 people and asked for a waiver of a requirement for a fire-suppression sprinkler system. The council granted both requests.

The house is located near First Lutheran, which is just east of Broadway on Fifth Avenue. The church plans to remove the house this summer to create space for a future building expansion.

The consortium has been working with the Minot Area Homeless Coalition on a solution for homeless men. Currently, the homeless coalition is incurring the cost of putting up homeless men in motels because there is no local emergency shelter.

The winter refuge would host men only overnight and would be monitored by trained, volunteer staff. Men would be screened for drugs, alcohol and weapons at a separate site before being accepted and transported to the refuge.

The consortium now will begin the process of getting volunteers trained through an online program, scheduling volunteers and arranging transportation of the men, Grilley said.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Congregational United Church of Christ at 839-1064.

The longer term goal for the consortium is to establish rotating men’s shelters among the churches.